Deadlier than the Male (1967): Bulldog Bond

24 JULY 2023

JBC rating: ****

James Bond Connections (5):

  • Featuring Lawrence Naismith (Donald Munger in Diamonds Are Forever) as Sir John Bedlow.
  • Featuring Milton Sandor (henchmen in Dr No, Casino Royale [1967] and The Spy Who Loved Me) as henchman Chang.
  • Featuring Virginia North (Olympe, an Angel of Death in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) as Brenda.
  • Featuring George Pastell (train conductor in From Russia with Love) as Carloggio.
  • Featuring the voice of Nikki van der Zyl (Bond girl dubbing artist, various, 1962 – 1979) as the voice of Penelope.

An update of English writer H.G ‘Sapper’ McNeile’s long-running hero Bulldog Drummond for the post-Bond jet age, the highly entertaining comedy thriller Deadlier than the Male is the most well-known of three late 1960s spy movies starring the darkly handsome Shakespearian actor Richard Johnson*, who famously turned down the chance to play the first James Bond in Dr No (1962). The popular Drummond thrillers – following the action-packed adventures of a patriotic war veteran defending Britain from sinister foreign villains – dated back to the 1920s and were an acknowledged influence on Ian Fleming when he began writing the Bond novels in the 1950s. In adapting the series for the post-James Bond world, the film shows the heavy influence of the EON franchise. Additionally, the film offers 007 fans the chance to see an actor who very nearly was James Bond in a film very close in style and content to the 1960s 007 movies.

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